Artillery Controveries

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
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Artillery Controveries

Post by Sheldrake » 04 Feb 2023 13:22

I am doing some research on British and US artillery in Normandy and North West Europe. I would like to tap the collective brain of AHF. What controversies or debates exist concerning their use, doctrine, technology tactics or effectiveness.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Artillery Controveries

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Feb 2023 00:16

Whatever there were in Normandy I've not seen anything about them. The differences in technique were more of nuance than substance. The effective difference in hardware was mostly in the lighter projectiles, or less explosive in the common British projectiles. Since the Brit artillery tactics were designed to accommodate the lighter ammo the difference was transparent to the Germans in the target area. In both cases the officers developing the respective techniques seem deeply influenced by French techniques of the 1920s & 1930s, but each went in a different direction interpreting French technique, yet getting a similar result.

Outside of Normandy & NW Europe the Brits took a wrong turn in the 8th Army with separating the artillery regiments & attaching them to specific brigades. This interfered with rapidly massing large groups of cannon on high value targets or critical points. That error was corrected by the time of the Alamien battles. Both had excellent technical and tactical skills by 1941-42. The US had a problem 1942-45 in that AGF or more properly the Field Artillery Schools doctrine office was stuck on that level of excellence of 1941 & there are complaints they did not adapt the school doctrine to the battlefield experience 1942-44. Since the US artillery officers were mostly reservists or war time joins without a career attitude they frequently adapted their techniques/tactics selectively discarding parts of the book doctrine. So, any rigidity in doctrine back in the US became irrelevant.

By the Normandy battles the Brits & US were using effective techniques & generally got the same results. One can examine fine details, but I've often seen such take wrong turns for misunderstanding the many factors connected. Or out of simple lack of complete knowledge.

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